Holiday Practice – Context

Do Supta Padangushtasana as a supine asana.” One of my teachers mentioned it in a class before we broke for the holidays. And so, I did.

Supta Padangushtasana is a go to pose when figuring out an approach. I went a slightly different route today though by beginning with a supported vipareeta dandasana. Later, it was Supta Padangushtasana 2, Ardha Chandrasana and Uthita Hasta Padangushtasana 2. All supported.

Similar shapes, different planes. A study in context.

Asanas and niyamas

It’s been an interesting few days of practice at home. One day of practice with a DVD by Geetaji, another day of supta padangushtasana and variations and a split practice between morning and evening.

Lately, I’ve just been focusing on the standing asanas since I am learning but perhaps I also need to add what my body needs. Supta padangushtasana was one of the first asanas that I learnt when I started and it helped when my running load had increased. Surya namaskars and backbends gave me strength and I have slowly introduced them in my regular practice albeit intermittently. These days they feel like effort, it seems like I could do more, especially in Supta padangushtasana which feels very gross despite using the belt. It is only after a few repetitions that my legs calm a bit to be able to get the actions required.

I’ve taken on a project to become a faster runner and that brings all my structural imbalances to the surface. Shin splints, sore knees and lower back have made a comeback. I’m tempted to give up on this endeavour since it is just a personal quest to see how far I can go. From a sane perspective, it seems foolish to push the body but I feel that learning through my experiences, injuries and remedies will help me understand how yoga can enhance running. Although, if it comes to a choice between the two, there is really no question. Then why do I still run?

Running taught me the niyamas although I saw it as such much later.

sauca– through sweat
santosha– through the calm after a run
tapah– through showing up on the road
swadhyaya– through journalling my experience
ishvara pranidana– through trusting the process
It seems very simplistic to put it all in the context of running but that was my start. Today, the niyamas are a little differently understood but that base of building a habit translated into a state of receptiveness to a new way of living.

For instance, Sauca has translated into something that includes some of the traditional practices of Ayurveda regarding food and lifestyle, having a regular practice, getting rid of clutter, reading that which enriches and chanting the sutras/shlokas. Some days I cannot do everything, family and work require me to be part of social activities and I go along. At times, these days slide into a week or more and then the call from inside becomes a loud cry. So, I come back and get back one step at a time.
Overall though, it has been a shift in the way I live my life and maybe some of it has rubbed off on my family too.

In gratitude for the blessings of yoga.

Some Supta Padangushtasana

Last evening, I barely managed to complete the invocation when the door bell jangled madly. I had to attend to my little girl who was quite hassled and needed my attention.

There went my video lesson. But I still sat down and practiced a few asanas. This is a change for me. Previously, I would have been more likely to add to the chaos and it would end up in taking longer for both of us to settle. Additionally, I would have just given up practice for the day and got on a thought train to nowhere, resenting all and sundry.

Since I did not have a set of asanas decided, I just did a few that first came to mind.

Supta padangushtasana 1,2,3 and 4
Paschimottanasana with support
Uthita padangushtasana with support
Adho mukha svanasana
Supta sukhasana with support
Supta baddakonasana with support
5 cycles of
Shitali pranayama
Brahmri with shanmukhi mudra

I don’t know if this is right or not but did it to the best of my ability. A change I felt was the contact of the back of my thighs in Supta padangushtasana 2. One of the actions I struggle with is moving the thighs behind and calming them but it seems to be getting better.

Amongst the 4 variations, I find 2 and 4 difficult. My right leg goes down easier whereas the left is stiffer and painful.

My left knee gets a twinge if I pull beyond a point in 4. Maybe its the tightness in the groin of the same leg. I notice it in the padmasana and sukhasana positions as well so now I use support for that knee. It seems to have eased up a bit. The stiffness in the knee is lesser. I bend gingerly expecting to hit resistance but it doesn’t come as much and I fold easier.

As a runner, I am almost religious when it comes to practicing these asanas as it has worked in keeping my legs light and free from the aches and groans that I used to experience earlier.

All in all, despite the interruption, a good practice. I had a small moment of change and for that I am grateful.